Breast Cancer Self-Exam In Five Steps

Breast self-examination (BSE) is a screening method used in an attempt to detect early breast cancer. The method involves the woman herself looking at and feeling each breast for possible lumps, distortions or swelling.

BSE was once promoted heavily as a means of finding breast cancer at a more curable stage, but large randomized controlled studies found that it was not effective in preventing death, and actually caused harm through needless biopsies and surgery. The World Health Organization, the US National Cancer Institute, the US Preventive Services Task Force, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, and many other scientific organizations recommend against the use of breast cancer self-examinations.

Breast cancer awareness is an informal alternative to structured breast self-examinations.


Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

breast cancer self exam

breast cancer self exam

Here’s what you should look for:

Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

breast cancer self exam

breast cancer self exam

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